Saturday, 5 October 2013

A Love Letter to Fate (Part Two)

Another thing about Fate that I love is what players had been calling the "Fate fractal" before Evil Hat officially called it the "Bronze Rule". I think the first time I saw this put into large-scale application was in Starblazer Adventures.

The idea, essentially, is that you can stat up anything you like in Fate using the same structure as a character. Starblazer applies this to building starships, from something as small as a speeder bike all the way up to capital ships or even something as big as a dyson sphere.

The advantage of all this is that it keeps things simple, and familiar, at every level of a game. You don't need special rules to play out a scene of dogfighting starfighters, just the same mechanics you use in every other scene. If you understand the basics of Fate, you can build almost anything you want using only small variations on the core rules.

This starts getting really interesting when you apply it in more broad, abstract ways. You could use it to create challenges like a dangerous wilderness journey, allowing the players to create Aspects and use various skills to get them through a "montage style" sequence that still feels meaningful. You could stat up a temple full of traps as a character to be defeated by the whole group, inflicting stress until the temple is "taken out" and they reach the treasure.

I've used it as an abstraction of things like infiltration scenes, with the scene being "taken out" representing the players reaching their goal, whereas damage to the PCs took the form of security becoming more alert and dangerous. It also works as a way to simplify the already-simple process of a large-scale cinematic fight, allowing you to broadly describe what's happening while the players take out bad guys. (What's really cool about doing it this way is that because you're not tracking individual bad guys or mooks, you can always offer a Concession and end the fight when everybody's had enough shooting and punching, and you just want to move on to the next scene. NICE.)

You could use it to model interactions of organizations, like the Company rules in Greg Stolze's Reign, using the rules to meaningfully decide the interactions of warring armies or corporate negotiations without requiring a whole other rules subsystem to manage it.

The Bronze Rule is a powerful piece of rules-fu, something that can really supercharge your game.

Next, I'll tell you all about why my players love Fate.

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