Yet another riff. This time, it's on a potential way to do Comedy with Fate Accelerated Edition.

There is no grand unified theory of comedy. It's a question for the ages on just what makes it tick. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that two elements are failure and incompetence. This is not 100% true, but it most certainly is easy to see in most comedy.

Fate, a system about competent characters who succeed, doesn't sound like a good fit for comedy on the surface. What's more, it sounds counterintuitive to base a game on how badly you rolled when the system is all about bonuses.

But what if you flipped everything over? In essence, you take the mechanics behind making someone competent in the name of action-adventure stories and only change the language to make those very same mechanics model incompetent characters in the name of comedy?

First let's look at the FAE Approaches: Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, and Sneaky. How about Careful becomes Reckless, Clever becomes Foolish, Forceful becomes Weak, and Quick becomes Slothful? That leaves Flashy and Sneaky, which are basically already opposites, so let's give them more... Unappealing names like Gaudy and Shifty.

So if we alphabetize these Approaches, you get Foolish, Gaudy, Reckless, Shifty, Slow, and Weak. Take everything that the positive approaches stand for and these are their negative counterparts. Rolling high on Clever makes you successfully pull off a Clever action. Rolling high on Foolish for the same action makes you fail.

Approaches still have positive values. You get 1 Good, 2 Fair, 2 Average, and 1 Mediocre as usual.

So I might have a character with the following

Good Foolish
Fair Gaudy
Fair Reckless
Average Shifty
Average Slothful
Mediocre Weak

What does this mean? Normally when I might use Forceful to break down a door, I roll and add Mediocre and if I get a Great result, I might knock the door down. In this paradigm, I roll Weak. If I get a Great result, I might get hurt and take a Consequence or something.

You're rolling to see how badly you fail now. If I get a Terrible result on my Weak roll, I might actually break the door down!

So let's consider Stunts for a moment. Comedic Stunts would add 2 Shifts to fail in certain situations now or else grant new or alternative functions to your Approaches.

Then let's consider Aspects. Normally you Invoke to make a roll better or to reroll for a better result. First, nowhere does it say that you cannot reroll a really good result. Second, you can Invoke your own Aspects in the name of Comedy, but you can also hostilely Invoke others to make them fail harder. Compels are virtually untouched by this paradigm shift however.

In the big picture, this requires a radical departure in gameplay philosophy. Normally you play a competent character who rolls to succeed in the name of action-adventure. Not so here; you're an incompetent of sorts rolling to fail in the name of comedy. Normally the PCs roll to succeed more than their opposition. Here, they roll to fail less than the opposition if they want to succeed or roll to fail harder for laughs.

I have not tried this out yet. As noted, it's a riff. That said, what are your thoughts?
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