Stripped Down Strands of Fate Feedback
Stripped Down Strands Feedback
Players liked using scopes, they felt it simplified aspect use for players. They also seemed to like the fact that Defining and Motivating aspects were there “go to” aspects in a lot of instances.
They did not like the limited Fate use in conjunction with no compels - one said it did not “feel like Fate” to him, although the system he said worked fine.
As a GM I have a bit of a problem with the compels - I want to be equitable in that no one character should get more compels (and thus Fate points) than others. Most of my interest is in Con style adventures, largely prewritten (and thus improvable with each iteration). I’m probably a more crunchy/structured GM than most, and would prefer to have some, if not all, of my compels written in so I can ensure a degree of evenness, since Fate points allow players more awesomeness.
I’m still working on this, but one thing we considered for a very tight experience is a Dresden-style “trouble” or disadvantage aspect. This might not be as elegant as a “dual use” aspect, like “Strange Luck” that can go both ways, but it would make very clear to the player what the main issue this character will have in the 4 hour session, and thus, what will be feeding his Fate expenditures. I also like as few aspects as possible, so this might be incorporated into a defining aspect.
Instead of Frank being a “Field Hardened FBI agent”, he is a “Field hardened and Skeptical FBI Agent” - reflecting that generally, he will not accept supernatural explanations for anything, unless overwhelming evidence is produced, giving him Fate points when he runs head first into situations that other think are too spooky dangerous.
This was a largely mapless game, I did struggle a bit to use aspects to define settings and scenes. I’ll explain a bit why.
A setting or scene’s aspects should, in my mind, largely be defined by the type of conflict that might occur there. Why spend your time defining aspects in a physical sense for a cave when the characters are just going to argue there, thus leading to a Social conflict? It is a waste of time. Another issue with this is the fact that some aspects are told to players, others are not. This seems dumb to me - why would I spent time creating “secret” aspects I never show to the players? It’s one thing if a secret aspect is eventually used by an antagonist, but I don’t want to spend development time on something that never comes into contact with players.
No one really used Declarations during play - this seems like the solution to the Setting and Scene aspect conundrum, though I think the rule needs a bit of a tweak.
The way aspect declaration works, a character with a relevant skill or aspect attempts to define an aspect by rolling against a Difficulty, typically set by entertainment and interest value to the game versus convenience to the player. It takes no time and is arguably not an action - this is my main issue. There is no rule I saw suggesting you cannot manufacture a lot of scene aspects in your turn. This might give a Perceptive or Knowledgible character a huge edge, as they rattle off aspects for their team that are immediately usable to him and friends (first tag is usually free). At first this might seem intentional, as the Fate characters can quickly define a scene. This could be done excessively though, each additional aspect doesn’t add as much as the first.
Two small additions that might help: First, a Scene scope - you can only use 1 aspect from the Scene to modify a roll. Second, each additional Scene aspect declared adds a cumulaitve +2 difficulty, failure ends your attempts. This allows Knowledgable experts to still define more of the game, and incentivizes their advancement, without allowing unlimited Scene aspect creation. One could also see where this could have those interesting moments from 24 or Star trek where the remote computer expert or science officer declares aspects.
Another item of concern is the “teachability” of these often narrative-based mechanics. Most people, especially people with previous RPG experience. Some of the more narrative mechanical bits (Assessments, Maneuvers and Declarations) seem a bit arcane to people. I think for a Con style or “teachable” adventure, it would be advisable to help “gas up” PC’s on Fate points by having them use a certain ability for the first time in a game, thus modeling it for other players. This would be great if it was somehow tied to that character’s schtick - the Tech expert’s player demonstrates Declarations, the Kung Fu character’s player shows how to use Kung Fu as a Block, etc.
Another option is to have Enemies use the same rule against PCs - I have a feeling this might get people really interested really quickly in certain mechanics.