Sunday, December 23, 2012

FATE Core Has Issues (but not in the way you think...)

Plasma Jets From Radio Galaxy Hercules A

I have read about half of the draft FATE Core rules now, and for the most part really like what I see. The FATE system has been simplified in ways that are helpful. Some of these reductions in complexity - such as reducing the number of PC aspects to 5, and describing a High Concept and Trouble aspect before moving to the collaborative phase of creating a triplet of shared-story aspects - can easily be ported over to other games like Diaspora and Starblazer Adventures.

I also like the very simple starting point of collaborative game/campaign design as presented in FATE Core. This precedes PC generation. You engage players in creating game/campaign aspects by engaging them in specifying a Current Issue and an Impending Issue for the game/campaign.

In this way, the PCs are telling you the kind of game they'd like to play. This can also be easily integrated with Diaspora and Starblazer Adventures' campaign-building systems.

In our recent Diaspora campaign, the Current Issue might have been written up as:
  •  The newly unified planet Juche receives the gift of an alien starship, and seeks to find its place in the Cobweb Cluster 
The Impending Issue might be:
  • The aliens are themselves divided, and the ship is stolen property 
Each of these then becomes a game/campaign aspect with further implications for play. The two issues also present "ways into the game" - ideas that help players come up with their own PCs aspects - and something new players often struggle with when they create characters. 

In Diaspora, this Issues step could take place right after Cluster generation, and right before PC generation. 

I can also think of a way to use this in Starblazer Adventures. If a GM is going to use the Collaborative Campaign Creation rules (Chapter 23) in Starblazer Adventures (rules which focus on creating and specifying some details of a sector of space), you could do a sequence like this:
  • Players/GM collaborate to create the sector (using the rules in Chapter 23)
  • Players/GM collaborate to create a Current Issue and an Impending Issue for the sector that could involve the PCs
  • Players create the PCs, developing PC aspects that inspired by the Issues where that sounds fun and makes sense
  • The GM then creates Plot Stress tracks tied to the Sector, the Issues, and the PCs (Chapter 24)
This could be a LOT of fun!  

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