Impressions on Strands of Fate
So, I thought I would post this after a few of us tried a stripped down Strands Game, which was a reaction to the first Strands of Fate Game I ran.
First, let me start off by briefly mentioning my "lessons learned" in the first "rules as written" Strands of Fate game.
The first game was at the "Legendary Hero" Campaign Power level.
My impressions from play:
Ability numbers for all campaign power levels are a bit low - these I feel are the foundtaion of all rolling in the game, having a range of 24-27 across power levels seems largely undifferentiating
The number of advantages and aspects is a bit high - its too much for the GM to keep track of consistently, and the advantages are too many for the starting player to keep track of. People were frequently scanning their sheet for a relevent advantage.
We did not use powers, but I'm not keen on spending Fate OR making a activation roll all the time to activate a power - Superman can always fly.
For a more narrative based system, there seems to be a lot of gun and ammo related advantages.
I had a beginging encounter where the characters would run into some car thieves. I planned this as a first easy encounter to try out the conflict system. The car thieves actually were pretty brutal in play - I guess I feel I would like a little more variation in antagonists - more 4e/ SoTC style minions. This may not be realistic, but it would create more variation in combat, which I largely regard as a good thing.
I was a little curious how scene framing worked in terms of using aspects to define a setting. I was not pleased with this, but some could be my execution as well.
While playing we had some Infrno hiccups -3 of us seemed ok, but another player kept losing video and audio. We were using a d6-d6 for Fate dice simulation (this results in a +5/-5 result and a slightly flatter bell curve, but overall worked well).
I strongly encourage GMs to limit the amount of Fate points that can be spent on any one roll. My reasoning goes like this: With enough Fate points and applicable aspects, players can potentially succeed at a given task through a tsunami of Fate points, which in my opinion can take away from the tension in encounters. Since most games on Infrno probably don't last 8 hours, you are looking at a sort of Fate budget - if you play a 4 hour game, and a character has a refresh of 4, you can say a player can spend 1 point an hour + how ever many compels you toss his way.
I was reticent to use compels, as this was my first game and I had enough to keep track of with NPC aspects, scene aspects, etc. I also didn't want to have too many Fate points sloshing around. The characters had Refresh around 4-6 (we used an optional character Gen rule where you get more free expert advantages to start). I would urge GMs to think about how fair-handed they are being with compels - its not really fair if you are constantly compelling one character and not the others - so try to consider a few ways you might compel each character.
Overall, I felt the game went well, I was a bit surprised that it took about an hour per scene, I thought Fate would run a LOT faster than more crunchy games like D and D and such (it does run faster, just not as much faster as I thought).
In the next day or so I will post my experiences with running a more stripped down rules set based on Strands of Fate that I wanted to use, not as a criticism of Fate but to create a more focussed system that let me really see how the components worked together without a lot of complexity.