A note to myself for future reference

With regards to running FATE (which I plan to use in the future for at least one if not two or three things):
It’s possible, even likely, to get so used to hit-point-driven combat systems that it might seem as though a fight in FATE was not a “real challenge” if the characters come through it without any marks on their damage tracks. The thing to remember is that FATE really has two damage tracks: the actual damage taken, and the pool of Aspects that one might ‘check off’ during combat to improve results.
A game like d20 has one ‘ablative resource pool’ — hit points — while FATE has two (and possibly even other, smaller pools for specific Extras or what-not), so while it is, of course, relevant to notice damage the characters took, it’s also important to notice how far they had to reach into their Aspects during a fight (or any other conflict, actually).
A lot of checked-off Aspects as a result of a conflict means just as much (if not more) reduced effectiveness during the remainder of a scenario than the damage track (and far more than a partial loss of hit points in d20, which has no mechanical effect at all).


  1. Something else I’ve noticed in first-time-FATErs, long-time-gamers is an general unwillingness to adjust their die results using Aspects. There seems to be a natural (or, I think in this case, trained) inclination to let the roll stand — a sort of ‘my skills are my skills, and that’s my skill roll, if it sucks, it sucks’… thing.
    There seems to be an initial tendency to see the character’s Aspects as passive, in-the-background things, like stats in d20, and that using them to control the outcome of a conflict is somehow cheating or a ‘patch’ on the system.
    This behavior goes away pretty quickly as people see Aspects as the very active part of the character that they are, but thus far it’s been a very consistent phenomena.

  2. I just downloaded FATE this weekend, in response to your previous article. I’m still reading through it, but it appears to be quite a nice “rules lite” system, with enough mechanics to satisfy my gaming group. Of course, “FREE” goes a long way toward making it reasonable for us. We’ve recently spent a lot of money ($40 at a time) on rules systems that we used for short periods of time, then abandoned.

  3. I am very much looking forward to your running something in FATE, as I am certain that I am only getting half (well, two-thirds) the picture of the system as the guy behind the GM screen …

  4. Personally, it’s your implementation of Fate that made me interested in using in the first place. When I first encounted it I ignored it. When I went looking through it the second time, I merely skimmed and saw nothing more than a Fudge riff. Researching it for IDC made me interested in playing it — playing made me want to run it.

  5. Three Damage tracks. There are also Fate Points (nee Fudge Points)

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