Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Andy Harsent

Post has attachment
I've been tinkering away with my 'Actions and Outcomes' grid, that +Richard Bellingham kindly included in a post earlier, and with the additional content he added on the end - supplemented by reading through the March FATE Core PDF, and have put together the following PDF. Basically, it includes the grid and combines the reference material for the different types of aspects and uses for FATE points, each on a single page for easy printing and reference (which was my main goal). Richard deserves credit for a fair amount of content - even though most is reworded and a couple of bits added, I wouldn't have found my way to all the material without his document as a reference.

Do let me know if anyone finds this useful (or if there are any errors - a couple of bits were added at the end from memory as it's pretty late here). The reference sheets focus on the rules specifically, and therefore if you want examples do check out Richard's document.

I've been pondering a little today about a fundamental concept that has surfaced in recent conversations about FATE, and that is the notion that things should be kept 'interesting'. Specifically I've been thinking about FATE core stating that a GM should only call for a roll for an action where both success and failure would be 'interesting'. If not, the player should simply be assumed to succeed and not roll.

It came up a couple of times recently (notably in +Richard Bellingham's Mass Effect game last week), with the GM actively thinking aloud as to whether he should call for a roll, and musing over whether he could consider events that followed to be interesting either way.

I wonder a little whether the developers intended this much thought when they used the word 'interesting'. Obviously when you start bringing in the mechanics of success "with a cost" the expectation is that the cost will be something obvious in the game, but I'm talking about straight success vs failure. Success is obviously 'interesting' to the player as they can carry on unhindered, but does failure have to be something any more tangible than that? Perhaps failure could simply be interesting by itself in that the player and/or character now have to do things differently, and it inspires thought on their part without any further involvement by the GM.

The other way to look at it is this: While FATE is clearly designed to approach gaming differently to a lot of other tabletop RPGs, there will always be some players (and GMs) that find the luck of the dice to be interesting and entertaining by itself. They will be the ones that like to put their characters into challenging situations, expecting a roll because they like to work with unknowns. Even if they aim for things that the character is good at, rolling dice still has that chance of failure which may make little difference now beyond changing how the character sees the current scenario. That can be interesting, or at least entertaining/fun, by itself - and just rolling with a risk of failure can bring excitement for player or observers, even if the consequences seem barely relevant to the GM at the time.

The fact that FATE uses dice and stats at all outside of conflict situations suggests this sort of gamer is being catered for.

Perhaps the word 'interesting' suggests a level of detail to failure (or success) that isn't really accurate. Maybe it should be 'entertaining' or 'fun'. This would support the pretty relaxed and narrative play-style that FATE seems to aim for. Sure, this might mean that failure leads to a change of narrative that the GM is ready for, or it might not - it might just cause the player to react differently mid-scene.

This leads me to suggest that GMs shouldn't worry so much about the detail. If a character wants to do something that makes a GM think "Should I make him roll his Drive?", then I would say that they just ask for the roll. If they succeed, great. If they fail, then present the options as per normal (succeed with a cost, etc), but if they choose simply "fail" then don't panic if you can't think of something 'interesting'. Your player may do it for you just by the way his plays out the scene.

As an addendum, I am referring to rolls where failure will at least impact the game in some small way, and not just things like crossing the street. And I'm not saying the GM stop thinking of interesting side effects to failure. I'm just suggesting the GM doesn't have to make something happen straight after, or resist calling for the roll if he can't think of anything. Or even worry about it too much.
Wait while more posts are being loaded